Friday, August 12, 2011
Strong Arm Tactics by Jody Lynn Nye
Jody Lynn Nye has written some really fun and funny science fiction and fantasy over the years. I especially enjoyed her Mythology 101 series, and her short story collection, Don't Forget Your Spacesuit, Dear. That said, Strong Arm Tactics is merely readable, but breaks no new ground in the field; it's vaguely reminiscent of the Phule's Company series by Robert Lynn Asprin. Hey, same middle name! What's up with that?
This is the first book in The Wolfe Pack (not Packe?) series, and tells the story of Lt. Daivid Wolfe, scion of one of the Families (think future Cosa Nostra), who has eschewed his inheritance to make a career for himself in the Space Navy. We don't get any backstory on this - it may be in one of Nye's short stories - but he somehow disgraced himself in his previous billet, and ends up being assigned to command The Cockroaches, a bunch of screw-ups and misfits who are generally only sent in to assignments where the going is so rough that ordinary units aren't nonessential enough to send.
This story is of a classic type, in that it's been told over and over again, in so many different media. I'm afraid Nye doesn't bring a whole lot of "new" to the tale. The only thing that I found original is that the Cockroaches, when sent to procure an important piece of technology from an inventor patterned on Walt Disney, end up using all of the androids (tho some are technically non human-formed, so not really androids) in his theme park to battle with the bad guys, a group of rebels called the Surges (insurgents).
Of course, Wolfe must earn the respect of his ragtag rabble, endure the slings and arrows of other naval units' disrespect, and save the day against impossible odds. True to form, not many surprises here. I still might pick up the next book in the series, for one of those long winter nights. Nye is a good writer, and maybe things will get more interesting in later installments.